The Archdiocese of New York, facing declining enrollment, has decided to shutter 24 Catholic schools in the state, including several in New York City, the Wall Street Journal reported. Twenty-two elementary schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and seven other counties are slated to close at the end of the school year, as well as two high schools. In total, close to 5,000 students will be affected by the closures.
The new announcement comes in the wake of several recent closures as the archdiocese tries to create a viable model to sustain the 173 elementary schools and 48 high schools that are expected to remain next year. In 2011, the archdiocese closed 26 elementary schools and four high schools. Before that, under the aegis of Edward Cardinal Egan, 37 schools were closed between 2000 and 2009. This is in spite of the academic standards of the schools, which routinely outperform state averages in English and math tests.
“It’s painful to go through this exercise,” Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, told the Journal. “These parents love these schools, and it’s hard to have to tell them that 100 years of tradition at that community is now not going to [continue].” But McNiff said that lower enrollment — the schools network has 25,000 fewer students since 2003 — had forced his hand. [WSJ] –Hiten Samtani